NUST held a Professorial Inaugural Lecture in Honour of Prof. Heike Winschiers-Theophilus on August 2 where presented a lecture on the Topic: Technology design with indigenous and marginalised communities – A pragmatic approach to knowledge and alternative future creation.
Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, is Professor of Computer Science in the Faculty of Computing and Informatics at NUST, and a pioneer in co-designing technologies with indigenous and marginalised communities. She completed her Bachelor of Computer Science at the University of Erlangen in 1988 and then transferred to the University of Hamburg, where she specialised in Natural Language Processing, as part of her computer studies. She graduated from there with a Master
of Computer Science in 1992. In 1993 she worked as a Research Assistant on a Volkswagen-funded German-Bulgarian Knowledge-based Machine Translation project. She graduated from the University of Hamburg in 2001 with a doctorate in Computer Science. Her thesis was entitled: “Dialogical System Design Across Cultural Boundaries”. Since 2008 Prof Winschiers-Theophilus has been leading a formidable local research group, which includes external international research collaborators, in partnership with local indigenous knowledge holders. In 2011 she co-chaired the inaugural Indigenous Knowledge Technology Conference, in Windhoek, to initiate a worldwide dialogue on the tensions in digital representation of Indigenous Knowledge. Based on a decade of empirical work and influenced by theoretical constructs such as Afro-centricity and local instantiations of Ubuntu, her research group has framed the concept of “community-based co-design” as a methodology. Today, Prof Winschiers-Theophilus actively promotes inclusive innovation, which has led to the establishment of a local Tech Innovation Hub engaging indigenous and marginalised communities in the co-development of innovative technology products and processes for the mainstream market.